Mod Fever

If I were to ask you what you thought of when I mention the 1960’s, what would you say?  Perhaps Martin Luther King Jr., the first moon landing, and Vietnam? Or would you think more about the pop culture surrounding the time such as the Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy craze, classic cars, and rock n’ roll?

Well, this fall you might be seeing a bit of the swinging sixties in stores with mod dresses making a popular comeback.  Fashion in the sixties was innovative, creative, bold, and brash, but it wasn’t our American celebrities that were setting the trends. No, sixties fashion belonged to, my favorite city, London, England.  Just as politics ushered in an attitude of “anything goes” fashion was breaking all the rules with influences from The Beatles and Mary Quant.  Now, I’m sure most of you know who The Beatles are (and if you don’t, shame on you) but some of you might be oblivious to who Mary Quant is.

Mary Quant is a British designer born in 1934 who, almost solely, was responsible for popularizing the sixties trends, including the miniskirt.  It was her instant success that made other, more cautious, designers re-think their designs and how it would appeal to the now, important youth market who set trends on fire.

Even today, we are seeing designers and businesses such as Derek Lam and Target re-invent their clothing lines or add a new line to their brand name such as Pendleton’s, The Portland Collection, to appeal to a more contemporary market.

Just as the clothing in the sixties was meant to offer a carefree attitude in a time of controversy, I think mod dresses today have the same meaning for 2011.  Mod dresses are easy to wear, comfortable, and can be fashioned several types of ways from pairing them with tights and a blazer to flats and a jean jacket to a turtleneck and boots!  Also, you can find them in tons of different colors and prints. Most popular would be the color blocking pattern of the sixties but also
ones donned with floral sequined patterns. We’re shedding the pastels of spring
and making a bold statement into fall with statement colors like red, black,
and white.

Calvin Klein Fall '11

Victoria Beckham Mod dress

Contemporary mod dress

While the cut has not changed so much, the fabric used for current day shift dresses has.  More and more we are seeing items of clothing, dresses especially, made out of nothing other than…Ponte-knit material! Why, you ask? Because of the comfort and ease of movement this fabric offers.  If I haven’t convinced you yet to step out of your polyester box, run to the store, and purchase a piece of Ponte-something, I’m not sure what else I can do.  Don’t expect this fabric to go away anytime soon.  I feel it is one to stay around for a very long time.

Twiggy in 1966

From Twiggy to Anne Hathaway to Victoria Beckham this dress is a must-have for fall. So, step back into the “modern” ages with a mod shift dress.  Experiment with a new color, pattern, and fabric, and as always, pile on the glam accessories!


Topping It Off

It seems to be a losing battle.  I am hooked on, infatuated with, and yes, I can admit it, addicted to the fashion accessory – hats! My addiction started as soon as I tried on a floppy, wide-brimmed, black, straw hat, in Parisfamous Opéra Garnier district with my mother about a year ago.  I instantly felt beautiful, elegant, and like I could conquer the streets of Paris as a true Parisian.  Was this hat my Spiderman suit and Batman mask?! While the feeling of conquering the streets of Europe faded shortly after removing my hat, my obsession remained.

Hats have been worn for more years than any of us have been alive. Made as a fashionable addition, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Kennedy, and the soon-to-be Princess of Wales herself, Kate Middleton has helped this trend.  It wasn’t until Kate Middleton stepped into the public eye sporting these fancy head pieces that consumers demanded designers make them in vogue again by putting them into their collections.  After seeing them on the runways a year ago, hats have trickled their way down the fashion cycle, accelerated and have been adopted by consumers worldwide.

Kate Middleton modeling a few of her stylish head accessories.

Hats can take a lot of courage to wear.  Because a hat will draw all attention to your face instead of say, your brown, distressed, leather riding boots, there is something to be said about a person who wears such a bold fashion accessory.  This person automatically oozes confidence, strength, and individuality not to mention they will never having a bad hair day!  Most people, I have found, don’t think they can “pull off” wearing a hat either because of the shape of their face or the fact that they believe it makes their nose, chin, or cheeks look bigger, smaller, or wider.  Just because you have a round face does not mean you can sport a hat!  You simply might need to find the type of hat that works best for your face shape.  The key to choosing the right hat is balance.  For petite faces, a knit beret won’t overpower your smaller features.  Oversized bowler hats are great for balancing a square face with its round shape.  If you have a round face, be sure to choose a hat that is wider than your face to help maintain proper proportion.  Fedoras and beanies are wearable on just about any shape.  Just be sure to look for one that is well made with a good height.  Remember to always choose a hat that reflects your personality and sense of style.  If you walk around feeling as though you look like a fool, others are going to read that on your face, especially since you’re drawing attention to it with a hat!

The Style List's best hats for your face shapes!

As I’ve said before, I love fashion pieces that are versatile and can be dressed up or down.  Some of my favorite fashion hats this year have been ones such as the wool fedora which can be worn with the more structured menswear items in your closet for winter and with a floral dress for spring and summer.  If I’m feeling classic one day, I will throw on my felt cloche hat with contrasting detail and channel my inner Greta Garbo.  For an artistic spunk, clip on a tiny top hat hair accessory with a feather.  No matter which style you choose, a hat can help create and pull your ensemble together!

As seen at Badgley Mischka Spring 2011

Admitting myself into HHA (hat hoarders anonymous) next week, I will most likely show up in my latest ribbon cloche, feeling guilty about my on-going addiction, yet stylish and chic nonetheless.  Sometimes, you simply have to let your addiction win.